BRAIN GROWTH .. HELP

George Hammond ghammond at mediaone.net
Fri Apr 14 22:44:16 EST 2000


DEAR BIONET.NEUROSCIENCE

  I am a physicist investigation the Structural Model of Personality
in Psychology.
  Current research has lead into the area of BRAIN GROWTH.  Here I
am referring to total brain size as a function of age.. this is usually
graphically displayed by the growth curve:

http://people.ne.mediaone.net/ghammond/growth5.JPG

  A staggering literature on malnutrition (esp. in the 3rd world) has
established beyond doubt that malnourishment reduces human brain
growth.  The actual size of the brain in both infants, children and
adults suffering from chronic malnutrition is substantially reduced.
Naturally this directly impacts intelligence.  Averages of 15 IQ point
deficits due to malnutrition stunting are common.
  Recent reports by Muslim authorities report that as much as 80% of
the children in their African and Eastern populations suffer from
substantial malnourishment and consequent brain development
intelligence deficits.  More generally, this is broadly representative
of 3rd world populations.  Naturally, lower levels of poverty in the
industrialized world are expected to have lesser impacts on brain
growth, nevertheless, it is obvious that some brain growth deficit,
due to poverty, stress and nutrition is probably experienced by a
substantial fraction of the entire world population.
  The authorities cited here commonly refer to a persons
"genetic potential" when they speak of stunted growth either of
stature or intelligence.  In other words, they assume that each
person has a genetic "design size" or theoretical size that they will
reach under normal conditions, and that severe deficits such as
"low birth weight" or "nutritionally reduced stature" etc. are
so severe in some populations that there is hardly a need to measure
it to recognize it as an obvious growth deficit below normal size.
That is, a deficit below the normal "genetic size" of the individual.
  All of this then, has brought me round to the following scientific
question.  It turns out that in psychometric factor analysis of
population intelligence, that this "brain developmental decrement"
can be identified.. and it turns out to be of extreme theoretical
importance in Psychology.  In fact, there is a strong theoretical
indication that this phenomena is responsible for the historical
mental phenomena that we commonly refer to as "God".
  Now, the question I have for the scientists on this newsgroup
is the following.  Variation in intelligence in any random population
sample is obviously going to vary because of the "genetic variation"
among the subjects as well as this now identified "development decrement".
The question is; is there anyway to statistical separate these two
effects?  As you can see, this comes down to the old question of
trying to separate Nature from Nurture.  Usually, in western school
systems for instance, it is assumed that Nurture (say malnutrition)
is not a serious factor, so that all of the difference is assigned
to Nature (or genetic) differences.  In the 3rd World malnutrition
cases, the Nurture part overshadows the Nature part so that all of
the variation is assigned to Nurture (malnutrition/development).
This is just more clear proof that both Nature and Nurture contribute
to intelligence.
  What I am trying to prove however, is a more general fact about the
Nurture component of intelligence.  I want to show that there is a
"population brain growth decrement" in the entire human race..!  In
other words, according to my theory, if you could actually measure
the average brain growth curve for the entire world population, it
would actually lie BELOW the theoretical "genetic potential" curve
for the same entire population.  In other words, according to my theory,
the entire human race, average-wise, actually has a measurable
brain growth deficit (due to the historical standard of living).  From
the above discussion about malnutrition it would seem that the truth of
this fact is so obvious that no one would dispute it.  However, the
question of scientifically measuring it has arisen now that it
has been identified as an important psychology factor.  The basic question
is; how big is it?
  If any scientist or bio-statistics expert, or expert in brain growth
statistics would have any suggestions as to how one might estimate this
quantity from the huge archive of growth data that is now available,
please post your suggestions, comments or questions to this post.
Thank you, George Hammond, MS Theoretical Physics




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